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Alberta

Police organized crime team takes down trafficking network supplying drugs to inmates at Bowden Institution

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From ALERT – Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

Project Evolve Dismantles Drug Trafficking Network

Eleven people have been arrested for their alleged role in a drug trafficking network, which operated in the Edmonton area and extended into the Bowden Institution.

Project Evolve was a lengthy and multi-faceted investigation led by ALERT’s Edmonton’s organized crime team, with the assistance of Correctional Service Canada, St. Albert RCMP, Morinville RCMP, Innisfail RCMP, Edmonton Police Service, and Winnipeg Police Service.

“I want to sincerely thank law enforcement for their incredible job in disrupting a significant drug trafficking network within Alberta’s correctional system,” said Kaycee Madu, Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “ALERT has done a remarkable job partnering with federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement to remove deadly drugs like fentanyl from our prisons. This kind of organized criminal activity has no place in the correctional system.”

A total of 60 criminal charges have been laid against 11 suspects allegedly involved in trafficking drugs in the Edmonton area. ALERT alleges the network conspired to smuggle drugs into the prison system and had established connections to Bowden Institution.

Project Evolve resulted in the seizure of drugs and cash worth an estimated $300,000. Search warrants were executed at homes in St. Albert and Edmonton, with the following evidence being seized:

  • 35 grams of fentanyl;
  • 88 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 620 grams of cocaine;
  • 1,341 grams of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • 1,745 grams of cannabis;
  • a handgun with its serial number removed; and
  • $206,000 cash.

 

“This was a very well-organized, well-coordinated group. Their drug activities jeopardized community safety and hurt communities big and small,” said Staff Sgt. Blayne Eliuk, ALERT Edmonton. “And by introducing drugs into the prison system, this substantially put the health and safety of not only inmates, but also corrections staff and officers, at risk.”

“Organized crime groups who traffic in illicit drugs destroy lives, homes and communities. Drugs and drug addiction contribute to spinoff crimes such as theft and break-and-enters, which result in citizens feeling less safe. Investigations such as this are a positive step towards reducing crime in St. Albert and keeping the community safe,” added Const. M-J Burroughs, St. Albert RCMP.

“I’d like to thank ALERT and my team at Bowden Institution for their combined efforts on Project Evolve. Partnerships such as this one between ALERT and Correctional Service Canada demonstrate intergovernmental departments working together to keep Canadians safe,” said Lawrence Hartigan, Warden of Bowden Institution.

Project Evolve concluded on December 17, 2020, with several arrests:

  • David Klassen, a 31-year-old man, currently incarcerated;
  • Nicolas Moores, a 29-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Garreth Curry-McCallum, a 23-year-old man from St. Albert;
  • Jesse Riedlhuber, a 23-year-old man from Morinville;
  • Brendan Baer, a 23-year-old man from St. Albert;
  • Tyler Kemps, a 25-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Nolan Arndt, a 24-year-old man from St. Albert;
  • Tyler Willimont, a 24-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Jessa Brianne Ivicak, a 23-year-old woman from Edmonton;
  • Kolby Gordon, a 23-year-old man from St. Albert; and
  • Chayce Anthony Krause, a 26-year-old man, currently incarcerated.

Both Klassen and Krause were incarcerated at Bowden Institution during the course of the investigation. Moores is currently serving a federal sentence under the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service Canada as the result of a conviction from a previous and unrelated ALERT investigation.

A full list of charges is available for download here.

Project Evolve began in June 2019.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta Opposition calling for Olymel Outbreak Inquiry

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From the Alberta NDP

NDP DEMANDS PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO OLYMEL OUTBREAK,  CALLS FOR PROTECTION FOR WORKERS, NOT CORPORATIONS

Alberta’s NDP is demanding an immediate public inquiry into the mishandling by both the UCP government and Olymel of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at a meat-processing plant in Red Deer, and is seeking a commitment from the Minister of Justice that he will not intervene with legislation to protect potentially negligent corporations from lawsuits launched by victims’ families.

As of Wednesday, at least three Olymel employees had died as a result of the outbreak, which began in November and has seen more than 500 cases of COVID-19 confirmed to date. The NDP has also learned that three employees are currently fighting for their lives in intensive care. The Government of Alberta ignored calls for the plant to be closed, even as cases skyrocketed.

“We need to get to the bottom of who is responsible for these senseless, tragic deaths,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “People with no choice but to continue working in unsafe conditions have gotten sick and died. We need to hold those responsible accountable and develop new practices to prevent tragedies like this in the future.”

During a town hall meeting Tuesday night, UCP Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu was working on legislation to eliminate liability in relation to COVID-19 illness and death for corporations and businesses

“This Government should focus on preventing workers from further injury and death, not covering up the negligence that’s already occurred around these tragedies,” Notley said. “We call on the UCP Government to reverse these plans.”

The NDP is also demanding an inquiry into the Olymel outbreak and the overall history with respect to worker safety in the meat-processing industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Olymel outbreak is now the deadliest linked to a meat-processing plant in Alberta during the pandemic. The outbreak at High River’s Cargill plant last year saw two workers die and more than 1,500 cases of COVID-19 confirmed — it remains the largest since in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Overall, while meat-packing plants have occurred in several other provinces, only in Alberta have people died, with the number currently standing at six,” Notley said.

The NDP is also supporting the call from the United Food and Commercial Workers that the Olymel plant not reopen as planned Thursday and remain closed until worker representatives are satisfied that enhanced health and safety protocols have been put in place to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“We find ourselves in the same crisis as we were with Cargill,” said NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray. “Albertans should remember that the UCP’s own Agriculture Minister lied to those workers and told them the plant was safe just days before the operator shut it down,”

MLA Gray previously called for a formal inquiry into the Cargill outbreak and another at the JBS plant in Brooks that saw more than 650 workers infected and one die. To date, the call for an inquiry has been ignored by the UCP.

“Clearly Jason Kenney and the UCP don’t care about the workers in these plants,” Gray added. “We know that a survey of Olymel workers found three quarters feel nervous or scared to return to work and do not trust the employer to keep them safe. As well, over half of the workers surveyed said they didn’t trust the UCP Government to keep them safe.

“How does this Premier possibly justify allowing this plant to reopen when he hasn’t done a thing to reassure these workers that they won’t become sick or potentially die?”

The NDP will also be drafting a letter to Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu that demands he rule out legislative protection for Olymel, Cargill and JBS. A class-action lawsuit has already been launched against Cargill.

“The UCP wants to let these massive, profitable corporations wash their hands of these horrific incidents and, meanwhile, grieving families of lost loved ones will see nothing but more pain and suffering,” Notley said. “This government has a long track record of backing wealthy CEOs and screwing over workers. Enough is enough.”

In the U.S., 16 states have brought in legislation or immunity provisions to protect businesses and corporations from liability related to the pandemic.

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Alberta

Canadian Natural takes Keystone XL pipeline charge, raises dividend by 11 per cent

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CALGARY — Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is joining other large oil producers in setting aside millions of dollars to account for potential costs resulting from the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In its fourth-quarter results, the Calgary-based company is taking a charge of $143 million to account for its exposure to the line killed by U.S. President Joe Biden in January.

Rivals Cenovus Energy Inc. and Suncor Energy Inc. earlier provided $100 million and $142 million charges against earnings, respectively, related to backstopping the line as shippers.

Canadian Natural says it is increasing its quarterly dividend for the 21st consecutive year by 11 per cent to 47 cents per share after resisting calls last year to lower it amid plunging oil prices.

The company is reporting fourth-quarter net earnings of $749 million or 63 cents per share on sales of $5.2 billion, up from $597 million or 50 cents per share in the year-earlier period on sales of $6.3 billion. 

In reports, analysts said Canadian Natural matched their expectations with production of 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1.16 million boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019, and would have beat their financial expectations if not for the Keystone XL provision.

“The 2021 capital budget of approximately $3.2 billion drives targeted annual production growth of approximately 61,000 boe/d, at the midpoint of our production range, from 2020 levels, and robust free cash flow generation,” said chief financial officer Mark Stainthorpe in a news release.

“At the current 2021 annual strip pricing of approximately US$57 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) per barrel, the company targets to generate significant annual free cash flow of approximately $4.9 billion to $5.4 billion, after our capital program and increased dividend.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ, TSX:CVE, TSX:SU)

The Canadian Press

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